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Work and unions
WorkshopBrighthelm Activities Hall
WorkshopBrighthelm Activities Hall

Labour4Decrim: 5 Reasons Unions Support Decriminalisation of Sex Work

Sat 21.09.19
1pm – 2:30pm

Support for the full decriminalisation of sex work is growing rapidly with reforms proposed in New York City and Mexico City to new support developing in British trade unions and civil society groups like Amnesty International UK. Sex workers rights organisations have been clear that it is time for the Labour Party to support the full decriminalisation of sex work in the UK. In this session, you will hear from trade unionists about the growing support for sex worker rights in the labour movement, followed by an organising workshop focused on defeating pro-criminalisation arguments in your CLP, union branch or at the pub.


Sex worker rights activist and organiser with SWARM, xtalk and United Voices of the World working to make the links between drug policy, sex worker rights and prison abolition. She leads the parliamentary and civil society lobbying work of Decrim Now - the national campaign for sex worker rights. She has represented sex workers at the national and international level.

Shiri Shalmy is an organiser and an executive member of United Voices of the World.

Camille Barbagallo is a postdoctoral researcher. Her research focuses on ‘women’s work’ that is both waged and unwaged and addresses questions of gender, social reproduction and labour relations. She is the editor of Women and the Subversion of the Community: A Mariarosa Dalla Costa Reader (PM Press, 2019) and author of Mothers & Others: The Politics of Work in Neoliberal Britain (MUP, forthcoming). For Decrim Now she focuses on the unionisation of sex workers, strippers, dancers and hostesses.

Molly Smith is a sex worker and sex worker rights activist. As well as being involved in Decrim Now, she organises within SCOTPEP and SWARM. She is the co-author of Revolting Prostitutes: the Fight for Sex Worker’s Rights. She lives in Scotland.

Jo Grady is a British trade union leader and former academic. She was elected as General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) in 2019, the largest further and higher education union in the world.


Lou Cahill is a clinical nurse and member of the London Network of Nurses and Midwives.

Maria Exall is the Chair of the TUC LGBT Committee and is elected to represent Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered trade unionists on the General Council. She is the Branch Secretary of CWU Greater London Combined, the Vice President of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and currently Chair of the Cutting Edge Consortium. She is a member of the Labour Representation Committee.


Labour4Decrim are a grassroots campaign group of Labour Party activists who are active in sex worker collectives, trade unions, feminist and human rights.

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